Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Pulling the plug on the Lower Leagues.




The Premier League. The Promised Land. Whatever you want to call it, it is the pinnacle of English Football, where every club strives to be, playing the best, beating the best.

However, over the last few years, the divide between the top tier and the lower leagues has been rapidly increasing, from the owners, to the stadiums and academies of our beloved teams.

Recently, the EPPP (Elite Player Performance Plan) was voted for by 46 of the Football League clubs, which many people believe is due to the fact that had the new plan not been voted for, then the Premier League would've withdrawn the current funding for youth development, £5m per year, that is currently in place.

So, what is this new plan, and what does it mean for lower league clubs?

Well, taking Milton Keynes Dons as an example, they recently recieved a £1.5m transfer fee from Chelsea for a 14 year old. Under the new rules, clubs will be paid a certain amount depending on how long they were under the clubs development for, between £3k and £40k per year, between the ages 9-16.

In short, it means that many top level clubs, awash with cash, could pay less than £100,000 per player to these clubs, a small percentage of what they would currently have to agree with the clubs for each player.

The main problem I have with this, is although the youth academies in place will be graded, and the better ones will be given more attention and coaching, it glosses over the lower league clubs, and seems to just be solely for the purpose of finding future England stars.

If clubs can get 10 players for the price of 1, I fear we will see more clubs taking low gambles of many more players, meaning there simply isnt enough room for them in these top teams to progress, leaving many hopeful youngsters tossed on the scrapheap, before they have been given a proper chance to shine.

I believe this new plan will put an end to the story, and the dreams of myself, and many others as youngsters. The one where as a 10 year old kid starting in his local academy, gets his debut for his boyhood club at 16, before being signed by a big club, captaining them to Champions League glory at 28, only to go back and play out his career at his local club, and end there as a hero.

Or maybe i'm just too much of a traditionalist. Make your own judgement.